Monday, 23 July 2018
Amazon has introduced Alexa Captioning in the UK, which enables deaf or hard of hearing users to see responses to see text-based responses from the virtual assistant.
The new feature works with Amazon Echo devices which have a screen – the Echo Show and Echo Spot – and can be turned on via the device’s settings. Once active, the feature will show real-time captions appear on their Echo screen of Alexa’s responses to certain queries, however, the technology giant has said not all responses are supported and the technology will continue to be honed over time.
The feature was first launched in the US several months ago and is Amazon’s latest effort to improve accessibility around the voice-activated artificially intelligent assistant.
The tech giant has also announced Tap to Alexa in the US, which enables users to talk to Alexa without using their voice, instead of using a range of new touchscreen icons to call up important information such as news, weather and traffic information, as well as set timers. Amazon confirmed on Monday that Tap to Alexa was rolling out in the US immediately, with other markets set to follow in the near future.
It's been a long time coming that real concern is being raised at cultural approaches, and campaigns, that mostly distort awareness towards outright bias and at times deliberate misinformation.
It is rather sad that there is no social area or back up for those who for one reason or another want to remain within the hearing area and not go the signing/cultural route, (or basically, they just aren't able to), to get dismissed out of hand. We are poorly if at all served within the means we use to communicate, and the type of support we want and need. We tend to go for the term 'need', and not preference, as these are not the same thing. I might prefer to be a brain surgeon it is unlikely to happen. I might prefer to be a perfect lip-reader, that NEVER happens!
I know in the UK if you don't sign there is little or no other support being offered, this is causing us huge issues in health, in real access and support, and probably responsible for the many annoyances with the deaf signer who while far more successful than we are at putting their needs, they don't care for ours despite claiming to be 'Deaf and HoH' too. We would prefer they refrained from saying they are us, as the blurring of various terms and definitions just mean they can claim whatever status or ID meets their points. Who are the deaf? It depends what welfare benefit you are claiming. Then you can be cultural and Deaf or simply not disabled at all.
There are a lot of distortions and abuses of definitions of need, and online outright lies if we are honest. I notice the 'English' sign CryptoDeaf uses, but again sign isn't that clear here, so interpreters can't support us, there are few if any Signed ENGLISH classes, that are also free of cultural interference, in fact, if they actually exist... We don't need to know about Milan to communicate, nor do the Deaf themselves. Interpreters keep using the cultural 'preference' of BSL with its obscure grammar, so we have to opt out, I am forced in many respects to writing things down.
My only real lifeline is my voice, but it throws people the deaf can speak and they can challenge us from both sides of the argument. E.G. UK sign classes and 'Deaf' awareness is based on the premise we are unable to speak as well, so deaf & dumb still rules in the UK in reality, and speech is actively discouraged in classes that teach it. Deaf allegedly can get upset when people talk to them, and mainstream can be accused of being disrespectful, the wheel of rights has gone full circle to silliness and more isolation. If Deaf weren't in a corner before, they are now by choice.
It's pretty clear putting all deaf together is a risky option, because the 'herd mentality' tends to redefine need to something else entirely, and deaf awareness doesn't work anywhere in the world because of this, a system of them and Us is existing, it also means the less able deaf being dominated by the rest with their own agendas. Where mainstream were challenged on the divisions by decibel thing, the cultists have made these divisions their own bottom line and included communications as yet another barrier the rest of us have to overcome. It's OK to discriminate if we/they do it.
If CryptoDeaf is forcing debate on what is happening it can only be a good thing, we aren't all deaf together or all hearing loss together, and at some point, the overwhelming majority are going to stop standing aside while their own need and rights are ignored, in case culture uses the 'D' word on them, (discrimination), to force the truth to be aired. Unity would be great but only on equal terms. There is no hierarchy of rights we are all entitled to them. You can only speak for yourself no-one else.
The Achilles' heel of deaf culture is their inability to encompass inclusion, but inclusion is at the heart of all equality and access, or it doesn't work. Deaf are showing this unwillingness and poor ability to adapt, and then masking that unwillingness as their right rather than get to grips with it.